Jo’s world was turned upside down when her husband returned from serving in the United States Army on, “The Manhattan Project,” at the Trinity Atomic Bomb Site in New Mexico. When her husband departed for this mission, he was unaware as to the assignment that he would be working on. Upon his return, his entire demeanor and attitude had changed – in addition to having fairly severe brain damage. Psychologically, it was hard for her husband to cope with knowing that his actions led to the sudden death of so many people. This event not only impacted Jo’s life negatively, but it left their daughters questioning what happened to the father they once knew.
Jo’s wish was to have the opportunity to visit the Trinity Atomic Site in New Mexico with her two daughters, Susan and Lori. After losing her husband when he was 59 years old, Jo voluntarily placed all of her energy into helping other people. In 1994, Jo volunteered as a lobbyist working towards positive stances on areas involving family issues, stalker laws, and victim advocacy. Jo is proud to say that several pieces of her legislation became law. She spearheaded donations and the distribution of food, money, and supplies for the South Dakota-Sioux Indian and Navajo Indian tribes. She also has been involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and her City Council working on projects and attending meetings.
Currently at the age of 89, Jo still keeps involved at her older adult living community – Brookdale Tamarac Square in Denver, CO. Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale were excited to send Jo and her two daughters to the Trinity Atomic Site on April 2, 2016, which is one of the only two dates that the site is open to the public for the entire year.
“It allowed for healing emotionally and spiritually and afforded my daughters the opportunity to define the experience for themselves. I believe that being present can be more impacting than just hearing the stories,” – Jo
The trip was emotional for Jo and her daughters, but Jo was able to once more feel connected to her husband. At the Trinity Site, Jo was able to locate a picture of her husband that she had never seen before. She was also able to tour the McDonald Ranch House which is the exact site where the assembly of the atomic bomb took place. As expected, the trip was quite emotional but Jo feels as if she has finally found some peace and closure for a life-changing event in all of their lives.
Photography by: Karina Schuh Photography